Sunday, January 6, 2013

Next Project, Maybe, With Dog

The third iteration of Walking East will take place between February 17th and 23rd.
This time, I hope to bring a close friend along as a research assistant :
Rowan has been one of my closest companions since I first brought him home from a Whitehorse animal shelter, seven years ago. He now lives with my parents, where he gets more exercise and access to open space than I can offer him.
My way of perceiving my surroundings when I walk with Rowan is difficult to describe. It often seems like we’re a collective sensing body. I see him smelling the air, and so I stop to smell the air. He perks his ears and halts suddenly, and so I halt and listen. I can rarely hear what he heard, or smell what he smells, but I can imagine it, and I react to it regardless.
In the same way, Rowan will stop and look around attentively when I stop to look at something. I am his long-distance colour-detecting eyes at a six-foot height; he is my ears and nose and motion-sensing eyes at eighteen-inch height.
I feel him bounding through the ferns with my own legs; his joy becomes my own, and transmits into my own legs. We often find ourselves lost in the woods, jogging, crawling, climbing, or sitting watchfully for long periods of time.
I am already feeling the urge to start this walk further outside of the city. The incessant sounds of the traffic and the hard sidewalks are going to be doubly uncomfortable with Rowan alongside.
I suspect that the rules of this walk will change somewhat to accommodate Rowan’s comfort levels and sensitivities (which are different than my own), but I suspect that the way I perceive my environment will be far richer, far more sense-conscious, than in the previous walks. I had a glimpse of this towards the end of my last walk (see my previous post).
In the meantime, I’m doing more work that reflects and builds upon Walking East 002. I’m looking forward to sharing some of that soon.


  1. Beautiful photo -
    I love your descriptions of the way in which you and Rowan are a 'collective sensing body'. It seems like a great idea to take him along as you walk east again.

  2. Thanks, Singne! I think it will be a lot of fun. I sure do appreciate my walks with him.